Bayern Munich manager Julian Naglesmann has suggested that Liverpool’s poor start to the season is partly due to their decision to sell Sadio Mane in the summer transfer window.
Jurgen Klopp is growing tired of suggestions that Liverpool’s patchy start to the season is related to their sale of Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich.
Mane left Liverpool for Bayern in a £35million transfer over the summer after contributing 120 goals and 48 assists in 269 appearances over six seasons for the club. The 30-year-old was a key player for Klopp’s side, helping them win the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup.
He initially made a bright start to life in Bavaria, in stark contrast to his former club, who started their campaign with draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace before being beaten 2-1 by Manchester United. Bayern manager Julian Nagelsmann has previously suggested that Liverpool’s sluggish start was linked to the departure of Mane – but Klopp has rejected that theory out of hand.
Sadio is a world class player. It was always clear that we were going to miss him,” Klopp told Norwegian broadcaster TV2 ahead of their 2-1 win over Ajax on Tuesday. “But this is not our problem now. Unfortunately, we also played bad games with Sadio. Not ‘so’ bad, but bad.
“I especially understand that the Liverpool fans want to discuss it, want solutions and things like that. But trust me, we have worked on solutions, and now we have the opportunity to show that we have understood it, and that we will react.”
Liverpool did react against Ajax, picking up a 2-1 win which was much-needed after their 4-1 defeat by Napoli on the opening night of the Champions League last week. While the goals came from Mohamed Salah and Joel Matip, Mane’s replacement Luis Diaz was once again impressive on the right-hand side.
Interestingly, the tables seem to have turned somewhat, with Mane now enduring a dip in form. After netting four goals in his first four matches, he’s now failed to find the back of the net in each of his last four matches and was substituted before the 70th minute in the a 2-0 win over Barcelona on Tuesday.
After the game, Naglesmann was asked about his decision to substitute the Senegalese star. “He put in so much for Liverpool,” he said. “He’s a new signing. He just needs to adapt. He was trying. I’m certain he will succeed for us.”
Although he did not even get a shot away against Barcelona, Mane’s side still ran out winners thanks to Lucas Hernandez’s header and Leroy Sane’s composed finish. It was a welcome result for Naglesmann, given Bayern have drawn their last three Bundesliga matches.
Liverpool, meanwhile, are seventh in the Premier League table, having won just two of their opening six matches. They now face an extended break, with Sunday’s scheduled Premier League match against Chelsea postponed due to a lack of police ahead of the Queen’s funeral on Monday.